A Journey through Pranpur’s Weaving Heritage
In the heart of India, Pranpur, a quaint village located just 4 kilometers from Chanderi in Ashoknagar district, has woven its way into the limelight.
With 243 weavers’ houses, Pranpur boasts a rich tradition of crafting Chanderi sarees and other garments. These weavers have been honing their craft for centuries, with some houses dating back 300 years.
Now, the village has another reason to shine as it’s chosen by the Union Textiles Ministry for transformation into India’s first Craft Handloom Tourism Village.
The Vision of Pranpur
The ambitious project, a collaboration between the Union Textiles Ministry and the Madhya Pradesh Tourism Department, is set to transform each house in Pranpur into a production-cum-sale center for Chanderi sarees.
The aim is to welcome tourists into these homes, allowing them to witness the intricate art of saree-making and purchase directly from the weavers.
Nagendra Mehta, an official from the Madhya Pradesh Tourism Board (MPTB), envisions this transformation, “The idea is that tourists will visit houses, see how Chanderi sarees are made, and buy them directly from weavers.” To add to the charm, a Handloom Café will grace the village, serving delectable Bundelkhandi dishes.
The Struggles of Weavers
As of now, life for the weavers in Pranpur is far from idyllic. The village, with a population of 5,000, is home to at least 2,000 weavers.
Most of them toil on a piece-rate basis for businessmen residing in Chanderi and neighboring areas. Unfortunately, their wages are meager, leaving them struggling to make ends meet.
Kamla Kori, a weaver, shared her story, recalling a visit from Bollywood stars Aamir Khan and Kareena Kapoor back in 2009. “They had food with us and even took lessons in weaving,” she reminisced. Her husband, Kamlesh, was alive then, but he succumbed to Covid-19 three years ago. Kamla now manages the household and raises their four children, facing the challenge of being paid paltry sums for her work.
A Glimpse into a Weaver’s Life
Masarrat Bano, who has completed her studies up to Class 9, has been weaving and stitching Chanderi clothes for 12 years. She is paid a mere Rs 800 for crafting one salwar suit, a process that takes approximately three days. While most weavers are men, their income remains insufficient, prompting many women to roll bidis for additional income.
Aslam Khan, aged 50, shares that crafting a plain saree consumes two days, with those featuring intricate designs taking even longer. Despite their struggles, the weavers are optimistic that with the arrival of tourists, they may transition from artisans to entrepreneurs.
The Craft Handloom Tourism Initiative
The state tourism board of Madhya Pradesh has set its sights on connecting tourists to the rich textile and archaeologically significant places across the region. This endeavor, named “Textile and Craft Tourism,” includes the development of artisan hubs, cafeterias, homestays, and digital museums in locations renowned for their textiles, such as Chanderi, Maheshwar, Bagh, and Unchehara.
Sheo Shekhar Shukla, the principal secretary of Madhya Pradesh Tourism, elucidates the plan, “The plan is to showcase the rich textile heritage of the state to tourists by developing a trail and curating trips around the village.” These tours will incorporate prominent textile and archaeological sites and actively involve the local community in transforming them into tourist-friendly destinations.
Development of Pranpur: A Glimpse into the Future
As part of this exciting project, artisans’ houses in Pranpur will be renovated and adorned with local artistic pictures. An alluring cafeteria, a digital museum, an amphitheater, and a hub showcasing artistic items are in the works. Shukla highlights the significance of this development: “The development of the ‘Craft Handloom Tourism Village’ in Pranpur will give a platform to local artisans.”
Moreover, the board plans to introduce homestays in these villages, using locally sourced materials like stones, and engaging locals to design houses traditionally with pictures and art. The development work in Pranpur is already underway and is anticipated to be completed by the second quarter of the fiscal year 2023.
A Transformation Beckons
Pranpur, with its rich weaving heritage, is poised for transformation. The Craft Handloom Tourism Village initiative is set to breathe new life into the weavers’ community, offering tourists an authentic glimpse into the world of Chanderi sarees. As we watch Pranpur’s evolution, one can only wonder whether the weavers’ dreams of becoming entrepreneurs will come true. Only time will tell. #CraftHandloomTourismVillage #PranpurTransformation #WeavingHeritage